Daily Israel Report

Report: U.S., Israel Can't Count on Arab Support for Iran Strike

Arab countries want to see Iran contained, but they won't help in the effort, a report says
By David Lev
First Publish: 11/1/2012, 12:19 PM

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Dubai
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Dubai
Flash 90

A report in the Guardian Thursday said that senior American military officials have warned Israel that if Jerusalem carries out an attack on Iran, it should not expect any help from Arab countries in the Middle East. According to the report, the U.S. was recently told by several of its allies in the Middle East that they would refuse to get involved in the conflict, not even providing passive assistance, and even if the U.S. was involved – because of fear of the “Arab street” that would probably look unkindly on such assistance, and concern that if the strike was unsuccessful, or only partially succesful, Iran would seek vengeance against them.

The thinking in Israel had been, according to many experts, that conservative Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States were themselves afraid of Iran's influence in the Middle East, and would welcome an Israeli attack on Tehran's nuclear facilities, to eliminate the threat of a “Shi'ite bomb” that Iran could use to blackmail them into surrendering them into Tehran's sphere of influence.

Several Israeli scenarios included the possibility of a direct flyover and even secret refueling in Arab countries, at U.S. bases. However, the new information puts those plans into jeopardy, as the governments in question would probably not even allow a flyover, much less a refueling, of planes on a bombing mission to Iran.

Quoting a serious U.S. military official, the report laid out the dilemma faced by Arab countries – and by extension, the U.S. and Israel. "The Gulf states' one great fear is Iran going nuclear. The other is a regional war that would destabilize them," the official said. "They might support a massive war against Iran, but they know they are not going to get that, and they know a limited strike is not worth it, as it will not destroy the program and only make Iran angrier.”